Meet The Scientists

Christopher Cratsley

Dr. Christopher Cratsley has been researching firefly flash signaling behavior since he began his doctoral work in the lab of Dr. Sara Lewis at Tufts University. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Chris pursued his interest in science education as an undergraduate at Brown University and then as a middle school and high school teacher in New York State.

Dr. Cratsley now combines his interests in firefly research and science education as an associate professor at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. At Fitchburg, Dr. Cratsley studies the role of firefly flash signals in mate choice and predator-prey interactions.

Kristian Demary

Dr. Demary has been studying animal behavior since her undergraduate research at Mount Holyoke College. She continued her animal behavior studies with Dr. Sara Lewis at Tufts University. Kristian's dissertation was on mating and paternity success of Photinus greeni fireflies.

Dr. Demary's research focuses on the relationship between ecological light pollution and firefly decline. Stray artificial light may interfere with a female Photinus's ability to access male flashes. Photinus fireflies are ideal for Demary's research because they use visual, bioluminescent courtship signals.

Listen to a podcast featuring Drs. Cratsley and Demary. The Museum interviewed them during Firefly Day 2010.

Don Salvatore

After earning a BA in biology at Northeastern University, Don Salvatore has spent his career as a science educator at places like the New England Aquarium, the Roanoke Valley Science Center and, for the last 30 years, the Museum of Science, Boston.

As a science educator, Salvatore is interested in sharing the wonders of nature with the world at large. He uses fireflies to foster a love of nature in children and adults alike.

Watch a videocast featuring Don Salvatore that aired on New England Cable News at the start of the project.

Adam South

Adam South was trained in ecological and evolutionary biology as an undergraduate at Earlham College. He entered graduate school at Tufts University in the fall of 2006 and is currently a PhD student in the biology department.

South studies sexual selection in several of the common firefly species in the genus Photinus, and he is also interested in the effect that predatory fireflies of the genus Photuris have on the courtships between Photinus males and females.

About the Website

Firefly Watch launched in May 2008 and was created by the software and interactive development department at the Museum of Science, Boston. In November 2008, the site won a MITX award in the education and learning category. Firefly Watch continues to be maintained by the Museum team.

Volunteer to share your observations of fireflies in your backyard — no special scientific training required.
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Observing fireflies is a great summer activity. Join our network of volunteers and track your sightings throughout the season.
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Pick a location, observe it weekly, and use our online tools to follow your progress.
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Fireflies can't see blue light, so you can safely observe them using a blue flashlight.

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